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Alexandria, VAThe morning and evening news shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC havent been just reporting consumer discontent about higher gas prices but also actively stoking public outrage. A new study by the Media Research Center, released today, shows that the three networks combined broadcast 183 stories about rising gas prices from April 12 through May 2 yet most of these stories were geared to fueling public fears with hyperbole, no evidence and hysterical claims. Among the findings:

  • The networks used loaded language in their promotional teases, e.g., pain at the pump; skyrocketing prices; soaring prices; and sky high prices.

  • Ignoring supply and demand, many of the networks stories blamed Big Oil for higher prices and discussed gouging by gas companies without evidence.

  • ABC showcased a woman who claimed she pawned her wedding gifts for gas money.

  • CBS, relying on an outdated AARP poll, reported that the elderly were skipping food and medicine to pay for gas.

Research conducted by the MRCs Free Market Project only amplifies the networks anti-Big Oil mindset. For instance, the Free Market Project has previously found:

  • NBC and CBS repeatedly reported that gas prices are at a record high, but gas prices have not topped inflation-adjusted highs. Gas prices are actually lower than in 1981.

  • During the Hurricane Katrina gas scare, the networks repeatedly broadcast gas prices on screen that were 75 cents per gallon higher than average.

  • After the Hurricane Rita peak, gas prices fell 45 cents but CBS, NBC, and ABC continued to report on high gas prices four times as often as falling prices.


o schedule an interview with MRC President Bozell or an MRC spokesperson, please contact Tim Scheiderer (x. 126) or Colleen OBoyle (x. 122) at 703.683.5004.